That Great British institution the fish and chip shop is the latest food business to go down the route of restaurant franchising. It’s not a premature or needlessly pessimistic question; the restaurant industry has been held together by a frayed thread since long before the pandemic. Recent months have revealed how precarious the livelihoods are of a largely uninsured and often undocumented workforce; the extent to which independent restaurant owners face paying unforgiving rents; and how deeply diners have been encouraged to devalue the labor that goes into growing, transporting, cooking, and serving their food. The culture of restaurants, too — long known to harbor a cartoonishly masculine, often hostile environment — came under a fresh round of scrutiny, years after the beginning of #MeToo, as a summer of social justice protests rooted in the Black Lives Matter movement inspired more and more restaurant employees to publicly expose racist, sexist, and abusive work environments.
Why? Because given the choice of trying to establish a loyal customer base for a new, unfamiliar product of your own choosing, and going with a restaurant franchise with food already familiar and proven to keep the customers coming back, the odds are definitely on the side of the franchise restaurant.
If you are a businessman thinking of franchising a restaurant, you must focus on the business and its characteristics you would like to invest in. The first step is to determine if this industry is appropriate for you. Amidst all the businesses you can venture in, make sure that the food industry is what will help you succeed.
Additionally, we regularly advise on other ongoing legal issues facing our franchise and restaurant industry clients. For example, our insolvency and restructuring attorneys can help clients navigate distressed debt sales, workouts and other potential recovery options, while our real estate attorneys can facilitate property acquisition and development as well as sale-leaseback transactions.
That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic is making this year’s economic crisis very different than past downturns, when restaurants offered an important lifeline for the newly unemployed. Since service-sector jobs now mean a higher chance of infection, even higher pay isn’t coaxing workers into the kitchen.